The Resort at Seven Utes: The Northern Colorado Ski Town that Never Was
If you drive past the Poudre Canyon and continue heading west on Highway 14 towards Steamboat Springs, you'll travel through the tiny town of Gould, Colorado — population 2,139.
While this unincorporated community in the Cameron Pass is so small you could almost miss it, there were once big ideas to develop the area into a Northern Colorado ski resort.
According to the Coloradoan, Cameron Pass has an average snowfall of 250 inches a year and, geographically speaking, it's an ideal place for skiing, boarding and other outdoor recreational activities.
During the 1970s, backcountry skiers began taking full advantage of the area, especially Seven Utes Mountain, which was praised for its potential to become something more.
Ideas floated around for years until 1993, when California developer Fred Sauer proposed a plan to build an actual ski resort near Gould on the north face of Seven Utes Mountain.
Sauer envisioned the Resort at Seven Utes as being a 1,300-acre ski area, conveniently accessible to people living in Fort Collins and the surrounding towns. He wanted to build two hotels with 300 rooms each, 200 homes, 1,250 condominiums, a golf course, an ice-skating rink and an equestrian center.
But the idea of the Resort at Seven Utes didn't sit well with locals living in Gould and Walden. Residents were concerned about the amount of people the resort would attract to the area, as well as the negative impacts that could come from it, especially to wildlife. Some even claimed the new resort would result in their hometown becoming "Six Flags over Cameron Pass."
Sauer faced several other challenges when it came to building plans, being that the area of the proposed resort was on state-owned land. Not only would the land exchange have been complicated, but additional permits would have been required. Plus, he still needed to gain approval from the public.
The public couldn't seem to get behind Sauer's plan for building his resort. By November of 1993, the land board had received less than 900 comments in support of the project. In opposition, they documented more than 2,200 opinions against the proposed construction.
The Resort at Seven Utes was officially rejected by the land board in December of 1993. Since then, there's been no other serious talks of building a resort in Cameron Pass, but backcountry skiers and boarders still continue to utilize the area every winter.